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Author Interview: David Smith & Violet Addison

Today we speak with writing team David Smith & Violet Addison authors of the Twelfth Doctor story, The Pride and Prejudice of a Time Lord as part of our continuing interviews with authors from the Temporal Logbook II: Further Journeys.

How and when did you get interested in writing?

As a child I loved writing stories. I had text-books full of hand-written, crazy adventures. It was imaginative and rewarding. I loved it. At the age of six, I knew I wanted to be a writer. This was however the 1980’s… before the notion of supportive parenting had really caught on… and so my parents were quite clear with their advice: “Give up. It’s a waste of time. You can never be a writer.” So I gave up… I started writing again in 2006, prompted by the Big Finish competition; and so, after almost twenty years of not writing, my very first attempt was accepted and published.

So, for the record, just in case anyone asks:
Anyone can be a writer…
It is never too soon, and it is never too late…
If anyone tells you that you can’t do anything, defy them. They are wrong. We can all learn to do everything; act, sing, bake, write or climb mountains… it doesn’t matter… the biggest obstacle you will ever face is the person who thinks that you can’t… or won’t let you try…

I always want to be a writer, but never found much time to do any writing. When David won the 2006 Big Finish writing competition, he was over the moon, but there was catch… now that he had been published in the Bernice Summerfield range, he was no longer eligible to enter the Doctor Who short trips writing competition that was announced shortly afterwards… and how could anyone be expected to miss-out on a once in a life time opportunity to be a Doctor Who writer? He therefore goaded me into a collaboration and we entered it under my name. The story was published in the Doctor Who Short Trip anthology: How the Doctor Changed My Life. That’s how our writing partnership was born… ten years later, we have had over a dozen stories professionally published. As soon as time allows, there will be a novel!

How did you settle on a choice of Doctor and/or companion for the protagonist?
We love all the eras of Doctor Who, each one has its own strengths… however, we also love a challenge…

Writing for the classic Doctors is easy, as we know all the mannerism, vocal tones and backstories… so as a writer it’s much more interesting to try and depict a character that’s still evolving on the screen…

In this case, when we were writing the Bill and Nardole scenes, the characters were still in the series. This would sometime necessitate some hasty rewrites as new information about them was revealed in the series… as a writer it’s important to keep your work fresh and contemporary, and for us, this is one of the ways we do it!

What was your biggest challenge in writing your story?
Time.  There is never enough of it.  The biggest challenge is always finding the time to sit down and write.

We would love to pretend all of our work was carefully crafted art, where every word was thoroughly considered and thoughtfully chosen, but often it has to be done astonishingly quickly… often fueled by an alarming amount of caffeine.

As well as the normal distractions provided by life and work, we were also penning another story for the Time Shadows II anthology and working on the scripts for the Fighting Fantasy audio drama series… so this story was written in a very narrow gap between the two!

Where did you get the inspiration for your story?
Almost all writers unite around one piece of advice: never throw away an idea…

As we were so short of time, we just raided the bank of old ideas…

“The Pride and Prejudice of a Timelord” was originally conceived for Big Finish. Sadly, we have never had the opportunity to pitch for their audio range, so their loss became the Temporal Logbook’s gain.

Pride and Prejudice is as beloved in the UK as Doctor Who. We personally love it to bits. It’s a complex and detailed world, with a rich and varied history of adaption, which just seems perfect for the Doctor to plunge into… and in terms of a feisty, female companion for the Doctor, can you really think of a better match than Elizabeth Bennet? A cross-over just felt so natural…

…if we thought we could get away with it, we would do the same with Harry Potter!

What was your overall experience writing for the Temporal Logbook?
Another side effect of working at speed, is that you don’t always have time to proof-read your work as thoroughly as you might have liked… the work we submitted had more than a few typos! The editing team was fantastic, taking it all in their stride… their support and professional behaviour meant our fragile egos escaped the process intact… and that means we would happily work with them again!

The editors of Temporal Logbook II would like to thank David and Violet for taking time to speak with us.

Temporal Logbook II: Further Journeys is now available for purchase.